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NC Budget and Tax Center

The 2013 debate around tax reform started in earnest last week.  After the Senate leadership recently announced its support for eliminating personal and corporate income taxes and relying on the sales tax to raise most of the more than $12 billion in lost revenue, various folks have been weighing.

We put out an analysis last week on the impact of this plan as outlined by the Civitas Institute and Arthur Laffer’s consulting firm. These changes would mean a huge shift in the tax load to poor and middle-income North Carolina taxpayers and generous benefits to the wealthiest individuals.  And the plan doesn’t generate the economic returns that are so often promised with such proposals. Read More

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Take The 350 ChallengeCommunity leaders challenge Gov. McCrory to live on reduced unemployment benefits for one week

Group says Governor has no idea how much pain he will cause lower and middle class families with new law.

Raleigh, NC – A group of community leaders and advocates are calling on newly-elected Governor McCrory to literally put his money where his mouth is and commit to live for one week on the maximum unemployment benefit of $350 that is being proposed by the North Carolina General Assembly. Read More

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As you have probably read in many news outlets at this point, Gov McCrory has taken the somewhat surprising step of bestowing significant pay raises on his cabinet secretaries — as large as $13,200.  While some are complaining about the fiscal impact of the decision in such tough economic times, it seems that the more apt criticism involves the message it sends to the large mass of North Carolina workers (both public and private) who, if they’ve even been able to keep a job at all, have been eking by on flat salaries for years that average far, far less than what the cabinet secretaries make.

Moreover, McCrory’s statement in defense of his action — “I’m trying to make it at least where they can afford to live while running multibillion-dollar departments,” simply doesn’t wash. Any North Carolinian who can’t “live” in Raleigh on $121,807 per year — the salaries of the outgoing secretaries in the Perdue administration — has some serious issues that bespeak a significant  disconnect from the lives lived by their fellow citizens. This seems especially true for the people in question — all of whom appear to come from comfortable upper middle class and upper class existences already.

The bottom line: This is another surprisingly tin-eared step for a new Guv who has spent so much time talking about the tough economic times that grip our state.

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Governor McCrory says he favors a new North Carolina law that would require all voters to show a photo ID before they are allowed to vote. He also said on the day of his swearing in that he wanted North Carolina to be “a state undivided.” According to John Frank’s “Morning Memo” in Raleigh News & Observer, however:

“A new report from the State Board of Elections found as many as 613,000 voters, or 9.25 percent of the North Carolina’s voters, may not have a state issued driver’s licensed or identification card.”

So, tell us Governor: What’s the plan? How will you make us “a state undivided” if one of the first things you plan to do is make it much harder for one-in-11 adults to exercise a core constitutional right?

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Governor Pat McCrory held the first press conference of his new administration Monday to share with reporters the good, the bad and the ugly.

The ugly, according to the new governor, would be the state’s information technology systems – so “broken” in many departments,  it will be essential to work with contractors to modernize existing programs and create better back-up computer systems.

McCrory said his budget director and cabinet secretaries would also be examining the maintenance operation needs of state buildings in serious need of repair:

“This is not just true of buildings, but we’ve had this example with roads and other infrastructure, where we build new things without having sufficient operations money to run them,” said the governor. “This is a long-term structural breakdown…that you can’t put on any one individual or political party. This is an institutional structural breakdown.”

The bad: While North Carolina has a razor thin surplus, the state faces a “cash-flow crunch” likely through May, as the Revenue Department works to process income tax refunds in a timely manner.

Asked about the possibility of seeking new revenue in the upcoming legislative session, Gov. McCrory said that was off the table: Read More